Among the delegation was the featured speaker, Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. The delegation spoke of The Bahamas’ steadily growing tourism numbers and plans for future growth and innovation, not to mention the beauty of this ever-popular destination among Canadians.
“The ease of travel to The Bahamas from Calgary, Toronto and Montreal makes the destination easily accessible for Canadian travellers,” said Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “We’re looking forward to ensuring that media, travel agents, industry stakeholders and the Canadian consumer are aware of the many options there are for direct flights to destinations throughout The Islands of The Bahamas including new direct flights from Toronto and Montreal to Grand Bahama Island starting Dec. 17.”
Minister Cooper noted that the Canadian market for The Bahamas is rebounding slower than the American market. Prior to COVID, the Canadian market accounted for 7% to 8% of arrivals in The Bahamas. The goal for the 2022-23 season is to increase this number to 10%. The Ministry is planning to increase its efforts to market to travellers in British Columbia, in addition to its traditionally larger markets of Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.
Current expenditure on tourism is significant in The Bahamas, with approximately $5 billion being pumped into the sector. Half a billion is going towards airport development, and $300 million is being spent on the Nassau cruise port. Downtown Nassau is also undergoing a renaissance as the area was “dated” and needed a “refresh,” explained Dr. Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director-General, Director of Aviation, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
One point the delegation wished to get across is that The Bahamas is much more than the 16 major island destinations that people typically know. The destination, in fact, has over 700 islands scattered over more than 100,000 square miles. Exuma, for example, has 365 cays alone. Each of these smaller islands are a unique experience in their own right.
“Our diversification and our diverse product offering give us a competitive edge, coupled with the warmth of the Bahamian sunshine that is matched only by the warmth of the Bahamian people,” said Dr. Romer.
Addressing travel agents directly, Cooper added: “We appreciate partnerships with travel agents and are delighted to be able to focus again on the personal touch and experiences for all our Canadian partners. We want them to know that, one, we are open for business and, two, we truly appreciate and value the business and the fact that they recognise that this business is for people.”
To learn more about travel to The bahamas, visit Bahamas.com.